: There is growing concern over the mushrooming of mobile phone towers. People have voiced fears about the threat it posed to public health and have demanded that public hearings and the clearance of the Pollution Control Board be made mandatory for granting permission to erect mobile phone towers.

The All-Kerala Anti-Private Mobile Tower Committee (AKAPMTC), which has been formed by the protesters, has been campaigning to mobilise public support for their demand to introduce restrictions on granting permission to set up towers of private mobile phone operators.

Naushad Thekkeyil, president of the committee, complained in a statement on Monday that the government had been insensitive to the agitations being waged in many places against mobile telephone towers. He said permission should not be granted to erect mobile phone towers without a public hearing.

The anti-mobile tower committee has also complained that those taking part in the agitations were being persecuted by the police. It has urged the Chief Minister to protect the agitators as they were taking up the issue in public interest.

Mr. Thekkayil and Khader Master Aarambram, secretary of the committee, alleged that the radiation level from some of the mobile towers that had been sanctioned by the government was far in excess of the permissible limits set by international agencies.

“This considerably enhances chance of people contracting deadly diseases such as cancer and destruction of many species of plants and other living organisms. This makes a public hearing and public consent mandatory for getting permission to erect mobile towers,” spokesmen for the anti-mobile tower committee said.

The committee submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy during his recent visit to the city, appealing to him to give serious attention to the indiscriminate setting up of mobile phone towers across the State. It also appealed to the Chief Minister to appoint an expert committee to study the issue and prepare a report and constitute a State–level agency of experts and anti-mobile tower protesters to monitor radiation from mobile towers.

It was pointed out in the memorandum that the West Bengal government had already announced stringent guidelines governing erection of mobile towers.